Loren Nancarrow: September 27, 1953 – December 28, 2013

Here I sit, 24 years old, writing my father’s obituary on his banged-up old macbook that boasts an array of cool stickers, including the kayaker symbol he also had tattooed on his right shoulder. ‘SUSIE’ was tattooed on his opposite side.  His stuff is all around me; a dad-scented sweatshirt across my lap, old photos of him with a big ol’ smile revealing his trademark diastema on the shelf to my right, his favorite headphones curled up on the table in front of me. But it’s not just his things that are here, he is here too.

Dad, we’re all going to be alright. We are at peace knowing you are now free. We miss you and love you forever and beyond.



September 27, 1953 – December 28, 2013

Loren Alan Nancarrow, longtime San Diego TV icon, organic gardener and conservationist, passed away Saturday, December 28, 2013 at the age of 60, following a courageous 11 month battle with brain cancer. Loren is survived by his wife, Susie, their son (Graham, 25) and their two daughters (Hannah, 24 and Britta, 20) and the love of an entire city. To his family, his friends and to the San Diegans that love him, he was larger than life.

Loren was a renaissance man, a guys’ guy who was as similar to Bear Grylls, as he was to Martha Stewart.  A man who loved getting his hands dirty, as much as he loved arranging a centerpiece. He liked making homemade peanut butter and candles, vanilla extract, beef stroganoff…and did I mention centerpieces?

My dad was a kayaker, an organic gardening guru and a lover of wonderment. He enjoyed Bob Dylan, Jack Daniel’s and hot sake and was an avid collector of walking sticks, beach glass and beautiful german shepherds. My dad knew everything there was to know about citrus trees and roses and tomatoes, raising chickens and earthworms and monarch butterflies. He was a human Pinterest board.

Loren Nancarrow will be remembered as liberal but openminded, firm but kind, intellectual but hysterical. And he won’t mind me saying, he was a quiet but strong supporter of medical marijuana.

He was proud to be San Diego’s Organic Son.

We love you wonderful dad, husband, friend and hero: You are not gone, just gone ahead. 


And you, dear friends, we love you and are forever grateful to you. With everything we have, thank you. I’ll leave you with the quote my dad lived by over these past 11 months:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!’”
― Hunter S. Thompson

Hannah Jane Nancarrow (your “Hammer Jane”)

Please join us in celebration of Loren Nancarrow’s life…

Monday, December 30th, 2013 @ 4pm

Seaside Reef — Cardiff, California

**Please bring a SUP, kayak, surfboard, towel or beach chair and a candle to light for Loren**

Loren Nancarrow, April 2013

Photo taken by Loren at Torrey Pines, January 2009

Hannah Jane Nancarrow is a San Diego State University alumni, with a B.A. in journalism and new media. After graduating in 2011, Hannah worked in local T.V. news before her dad was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Hannah managed and contributed to her dad’s incredibly popular blog (thenancarrowproject.com) and social media platforms before he passed away, after 11 months of bravely battling and blogging. The diagnosis was a catalyst for her own writing and for following each whim and dream. Today, Hannah writes her own blog and has been a keynote speaker at San Diego Women's Week, Relay for Life, and a top fundraiser for cancer-related causes throughout San Diego. Hannah also has a passion for health and fitness, since losing 75 pounds in 2011. She earned her Spinning® and group fitness instructor certifications, and teaches weekly cycle classes in Encinitas, California. Hannah also earned her real estate license and works in the family business, Nancarrow Realty Group, in North County San Diego.

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387 comments on “Loren Nancarrow: September 27, 1953 – December 28, 2013
  1. Andres says:


    You are one tough woman – beautiful piece for what sounds like a beautiful man. I did not know of him until today, but a friend of mine also wrote a piece about him. He touched a lot of lives.

    He clearly raised you right – your piece is touching, down to earth, honest, vulnerable and strong. I wish you so much luck and all the best, I believe you when you write that you will all be alright.

  2. David Platt says:

    Good bye, Loren. You made things better.

  3. Jill says:

    Stunning piece of love written for a man who touched so many. Thank you for both your and his sharing. I will light a candle for him here in Todos Santos Mexico. My prayers and best wishes go to everyone~

  4. John E Flannery says:

    Hannah and the entire Nancarrow Family- May the Good Lord shine a light on you, warm, like the evening sun. Sincerely, The Flannery Family of Solana Beach to include Hannah, Shane, Septembre and John E.

  5. sam flaster says:

    Truly what a great guy! you will be missed by all

  6. Tim Sturgess says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. As a fellow Eastern New Mexico University alum, Loren was the Gold Standard for those of us who chose Broadcasting as our profession. And many of us chose it because of Loren. He will be greatly missed but he leaves an amazing legacy.

  7. Dave C. says:

    My family is now in AZ but I remember running into him at a park in East County during my oldest daughter’s 1st birthday party. He stopped and wished her a Happy Birthday and went on with his walk. A truly good guy. Thanks Loren.

  8. candyekane says:

    A wonderful tribute. I felt connected to your dad because he reached out to me personally as he knew I was battling pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer. He was a real live super hero to me and his optimism and eloquence were contagious. You obviously have inherited your fathers gift for writing. I will be there tomorrow with my beach chair. You are so right – your dad is still with you. When you feel his presence, tell him you know he is there. Leave a chair open for him at the dinner table – he will be there. Play bob Dylan loudly and he will be there too. I love the quote “not gone – just gone ahead.” So beautiful. Thank you for taking us with you – I send you white light and peace. May your grief give you courage somehow. May your pain ease with each sunset. Your dad will always have sunny days now and he brought so many to us lucky San Diegans. God bless you and your family.

  9. Damian says:

    As a fellow cancer warrior, your strength and courage will be missed my friend. I never met you, however I grew up watching you on the news nightly. I have always enjoyed your news pieces, they resonated with the same passions I hold close. I was blown away when our diagnoses of cancer came about 1 month apart… Mine in march….. How could this be, I thought… I just want to say thank you for helping me become a warrior too. May the sun always shine on your face, and the wind be at your back. Rest in peace ol buddy, I will be looking to turn in to ya when in get there. God Bless

  10. DW. says:

    So sorry for your loss. I have lost family to cancer and it is never easy. I guess a positive is remembering the good times and fun and what Loren brought to his family and friends. Peace to Loren and his family.

  11. Rod Kiar says:

    I am truly sorry for your loss Nancarrow Family. I have wept for a man that did not know me but I felt a connection to for what he stood for. He was a wonderful man and I will always remember his work on the News. May you rest in peace and godspeed on your wonderful new adventure.

  12. Heather Walker says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your dad. Losing your father is hard enough and losing him to cancer just plain sucks. I did it 5 years ago and there is no other way to say it. You and your family have shown amazing grace and strength this past year. I wish I could be there today for the paddle out but a large body of water and many countries seperate us right now. I will light a candle for him in Vienna instead. I am sending your whole family lots of love, warm thoughts and peace. Coach Heather.

  13. Susan and Don Richardson says:

    You have all been such a strong, loving and supportive family to your dad and husband and I wanted to tell all of you how very brave you have been. I lost my sister to brain cancer kind of like the one your dad had. We have been following his story since we first heard, and my husband and I always enjoyed watching Loren on the news. We loved his sense of humor, knowledge and all of his gardening ideas.I wanted to reach out and help somehow but I didn’t know what to to say all of this time until now. When you are in the middle of trying to help with someone that is so close to you, that you love more than anything in the world the pain in your heart seems to feel so overwhelmed and even unbearable at times. Don’t let anyone tell you when you should stop grieving over Loren, it’s a different process for each family member and each friend too. My mom and I walked around like zombies in the grocery store, shopping etc. We went into that frozen mode of feeling like you are just in shock and you want to tell everyone don’t you know what happened to my sister? my dad? my husband? Life keeps going right in front of your eyes but it does get better!! We donated to the serenity garden at Scripps and who ever thought of that idea is brilliant! When we were driving my sister back and forth to the hospital for treatment after her surgery we had to really watch out for rattlesnakes and scorpions, it was after all in Arizona!! We would start laughing because you get so beyond tired and thats how my family deals with the sad parts of life. The landscape was nothing to look at either. I think a beautiful water feature with flowers and birds would have helped with all of the waiting around and anxious feelings we were all going through. Anyways I just wanted ti reach out and I know we don’t know each other but if you ever needed anything at all we will be here for you. We are going to the paddle out tomorrow
    and I know it will be absolutely beautiful! And emotional. My husband and I are lifting you all up in prayer everyday and we pray for continued strength, hope and guidance.
    We Love you all, Don and Susan

  14. Cecile Fleetwood says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your beautiful father! Keep writing! You do itso well!

  15. Liz Kay says:

    RIP – I didn’t know him or your family but was drawn in by a story on FB. Beautifully written post on your Dad, and what a wonderful man to read about. Enjoyed life and passed on his appreciation to his family – you all seem amazing. “Life is short” is never over-stated. Healing thoughts to all of you. He has a wonderful legacy. Liz

  16. Hannah, I’m so sorry.

  17. Esteban Hernandez says:

    I got to know your father while I worked at Charlie’s in Cardiff, one of his favorite spots for night time broadcasts. What a kind soul, sorry he’s gone, but happy he’s free!

  18. Susan Sweeney says:

    Our east county town of Jamul will truley miss the wisdom of Loren Nancarrow. May God bless your family as we all mourn the loss of this incredible man.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Goodbye or perhaps so-long?

  20. Randy Baker says:

    I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Loren. I don’t much care for the word passing … it’s so inadequate. Loren, like the great gardener he was, spent a lot of time in his 4th Quarter propagating … his love, his values, his wisdom and most of all, his courage. He’s left so much of himself here on earth that I don’t think he’ll ever “pass”… For his family, thank you for sharing your husband, father, uncle and friend with us. You are so generous. My heart is full of sadness for your loss.

    When you were born, you cried and the village rejoiced. When you died, the village cried, and you rejoiced. -Cherokee Saying

  21. Teri says:

    Beautiful. I rarely write on blogs, but something told me to write the night before he passed about finding passion. I am also a hairstylist like your mom and I graduated from SDSU with my degree in Comm and Public Relations. You and your family have handled this with such grace. Much love to all of you and the best in the New Year. Loren will be greatly missed by so many that he never even knew personally like me, but he made such an impact on San Diego. So many of us really feel like we knew him and that is a precious and great gift he had.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. No doubt that you will carry him forever in your heart.
    He had many talents which we all benefitted from but his most important legacy will
    be his amazing family whom he clearly adored. My thoughts and prayers are with you
    and your family.

    • Ginny VanBenthuysen says:

      It is amazing how one man can touch the hearts of so many – for all these years for varous reasons. Loren, such a warrior, and is family right there with him all the way. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Loren will remain a happy memory for us all.

  23. Anonymous says:

    My deepest sympathy. He was one special man. My heart goes out to you his family I went through the same thing 27Yrs &3 days ago. All the wonderful memories and knowing they have no more suffering makes thing a little easier to move forward and we know that’s what they would want us to do. You will continue to be in my prayers as you all were the part few months.

  24. Hannah so beautiful written! You got tears streaming down my cheeks with the wonderful descriptive words you used to describe your dad, who he was and what he stood for! He’s looking down at you with a large smile across his face while he’s glowing with pride with who you’ve become and the words you chose to write about him! His journey through life was fulfilling and I know that by what you wrote! I lost my dad 20 years ago. He was my best friend, my hero, and my biggest fan! Your journey will be challenging at times just know that when you are having a hard time and wishing he was there just close your eyes and look up towards the sky and talk to him! He will be there to listen no matter where you are! Always celebrate his life and know he is your forever protector now… Your personal guardian Angel always at your rescue… Peace, love, and joy is what he wants you to have in your heart! Always remember that!


  25. Kasey says:

    So sorry and sad for your loss. I know he is tending the gardens of heaven keeping watch on his family and friends.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Your father touched the lives of us who grew up here and we mourn with you. May he rest in peace and it is obvious your family will keep his spirit alive. God rest his soul.

  27. Diane Smelser says:

    Dearest Hannah, thank you for your eloquence! This beautiful tribute to your extraordinary Dad helps all of us cope with his loss. In this tender moment in time, that you still give to the rest of us is so true to the spirit of Loren and Susie. I believe that sharing Loren’s journey has helped many people, over the past months, find the way to ease their own sorrows. I send my heartfelt condolence and love to you, your siblings, your Mom and the rest of the family and friends. Loren touched so many lives! I am very sad but I take solace from his well-lived life and from you, his darling daughter!

  28. Kristin Franssens says:

    Hannah, what a beautiful job you did writing your dad’s obituary! I met your family once at Charlie’s restaurant…your mom was pregnant with her third and you played out on the rocks with your brother overlooking the ocean. I was so impressed with what a beautiful and kind family you have…i am praying for you during this time of sorrow…you are so brave and so was your dad!

  29. Walter southpark says:

    A Breath of Fresh Air for Ever and Sunshine Always

  30. Craig Carter says:

    Speechless. You have touched my soul. I am 48 years old and if someone said you have 12 more years to live I wouldn’t know how to respond. If I live today and give a part of me as you did then it will not matter how much time I have left and only a matter of what legacy will I leave behind. Your courage and honesty have helped far more than you can imagine. May your next journey be peaceful.

  31. Anonymous says:

    beautiful words Hannah, lovely and eloquent. we love your family so much. and you are in our loving thoughts.
    the arendsen family

  32. God Speed Loren………… RIP

  33. Kate Harper says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a loving and wonderful father. I met Loren many years ago in a restaurant in Encinitas. I let him know how much we loved his newscasts and the helpful hints he provided for gardening and raising pets. He was charming and had with such a beautiful smile. I’m so sorry for his family’s loss. I imagine he battled his cancer with the same grace and strength he always displayed. RIP, Loren, you will be sorely missed.

  34. celliott3657 says:

    Thank you Nancarrow family. Thank you for allowing us to journey with you and Loren. Although most of us didn’t know him on a personal level we felt likehe was a close ffriend. My condolences go out to you all. I will be unable to attend but will be remembering him at the same moment from a spot on the Pacific Crest Trail. He will be remembered from the mountains to the ocean white with foam. 🙂

  35. Anonymous says:

    How Proud your father would be ..this is such a touching goodbye, Your dad will always be right there in your Heart 🙂 I run out there few times a year, will be thinking of you at 4pm tomorrow and light a candle in memory of your father. God Bless Hannah and family, Loren, Rest In Peace.

  36. Sherry Walborn says:

    Hannah, you sweet brave girl as you sat in your dad’s place writing…. So much courage….

    love the quote you shared …. Yep, sounds like Loren, like something HE would write. Thanks for sharing, it is an inspiration to us, the readers. we love you all more because of this blog… I hope you continue using it …. In whichever way that brings you comfort and joy….And that is what is wished for you and all of the family….much comfort as you move through the steps of life with Dad/husband in a different way. We hate to think of you all in pain missing your Loren. Know you all are in our hearts, supporting you from afar. So grateful there will be a celebration honoring this fantastic man, your dad. xox

  37. Anonymous says:

    For some reason, yesterday, he crossed my mind. He was someone positive and enlightening, and it’s not too often you get somebody who can manage it, but he did. My heart goes out to your family.

  38. Tim says:

    Loren truly is a beautiful spirit and the world is a better place for having him on it. I was lucky enough to speak with him on various occasions while he was out and about in Encinitas and I truly appreciated his gentle, loving nature.

  39. Diane Jacoby says:

    What a lovely tribute to your dad. He will remain with us in spirit and we will all continue his work and passions. Hugs.

  40. Anonymous says:

    RIP Loren…I will miss learning from you…sorry for your loss Nancarrow family…

  41. We’ll be there in spirit on Monday. I was at Seaside Reef just today with my son and daughter — in the exact spot where the pic above was taken, in fact — and sent some good thoughts Loren’s way. It was inspiring to hear him talk last summer at the SPJ awards event, and such a pleasure to have enjoyed his broadcast work all these years.

  42. Michelle M. says:

    This was incredibly shocking news! I grew up watching Loren and have tried many of his tips in gardening, pest control, etc. He is San Diego and will truly be missed!!

  43. Tyler says:

    Stunningly beautiful. Having lost a parent, I know that there is nothing that can console more than knowing that your father was an incredible person who will live on in the fondness and memories of all San Diegans, friends, and family members alike. I grew up with Loren being THE newscaster of San Diego. He was charming and kind and funny and he is already deeply missed. We were so lucky to have him in our lives. I wish you and your family strength and love during this time of transition. Your father was an extraordinary man.

  44. Anonymous says:

    What a loss for your family and our city. We will long remember his gracious soul.
    I will be there, candle in hand.

  45. Anonymous says:

    As we share the first name but spelled slightly differently I’m humbled and in awe of all he accomplished. So very well written, Hannah! You are wise beyond your years. I never met Loren but I felt I knew him as did all San Diegans.

  46. Robin says:

    RIP Loren. I’ll be lighting a candle at 4pm for you & your family tomorrow in Las Vegas.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Hannah, I am sorry for your loss. I am sorry you and your family are dealing with this pain and loss of a loved one. Reading the comments, everyone has said something that I would have said, “inspirational, loved, nice smile, missed seeing him, etc. Hannah you have your dad’s gift. Your writing is so pure, raw and comes from a very deep place within you. Not everyone can do that. Use it, I’d like to still hear from you and Susie. God continue to be with you all. Peace and blessings. A friend in La Mesa 🙂

  48. Denise Maestas says:

    What a beautiful goodbye to a wonderful son of San Diego😢

  49. Paul says:

    I am very sorry for ur loss and know this pain so well , I just lost my father last September 4th to cancer ur father was a great man and enjoyed watching him on tv Rip Loren

  50. Anonymous says:

    Sweet Hannah. What a lovely human being you are, shaped by your beautiful Mom and Dad….flanked by your precious siblings. Bless you, and your whole family. You will need strength for the journey as you bid your wonderful Dad a fond farewell, may you find both peace and strength in the coming days.

    • Sabrina says:

      That was beautiful… Your father will forever live on in this town because of his loving family. As a way of honoring him I hope everyone who appreciated his spirit and love of nature will donate whatever they can to the healing gardens at Scripps https://scrippshf.ejoinme.org/?tabid=504643.. What a way for his legacy to carry on… RIP kind and gentle soul..

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